Co-ordination Theory

Co-ordination Theory is based on the premise that there are patterns of co-ordination which hold across multiple domains, and so lessons learnt in one domain (e.g. computer science) can be applied in another (e.g. materials handling).

Malone and Crowston [1] propose a simple definition of co-ordination:

"Coordination is managing dependencies between activities"

Based on this key definition, Malone and Crowston analyse co-ordination cases based on the type of dependency. They go on to example how different domains - computer science, economics and operations research, and organisational theory - look at these co-ordination processes.

A side effect of the Malone and Crowston definition is that co-ordination now subsumes co-operation, planning, scheduling, and even competition.

1. Malone, T.W. & Crowston, K. 1994, 'The interdisciplinary study of coordination', ACM Computing Surveys, vol. 26, no. 1.
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